Natalie at Life is Hard but Never Serious (my absolute favorite recently discovered blog) posted a summer bucket list a few days ago, and I loved the idea! I’m really bad about letting myself get the blues after a big, exciting event like a key race or trip, and that’s been the case since we came back from New York City. It always helps when I focus on the small fun stuff to look forward to until the next big deal comes along! And since our next trip in October seems like an eternity away right now, I need to get excited about the summer I have in front of me! So here goes…my summer bucket list!
1. Do a gallery wall. This one just may take me all damn summer. I’m the least creative person on this planet, and this most obviously manifests itself through my lack of home decor skill. So thank God for Pinterest! I found a few ideas for inspiration, and so far this one is my favorite. I won’t do it exactly like it is because I don’t think many of my photos would blow up to 16 x 20 with very good quality, but this gives me an idea of how to start at least.
2. Finish out my cross fit punch card. I joined a cross fit gym about a year and a half ago with plans of that being a form of cross training as an adjunct to running. I went somewhat regularly for a while, then the gym ownership changed hands and they changed a lot of stuff and a new crowd came in and I just didn’t enjoy it anymore and gradually quit going. Trouble is I have 10 more prepaid classes, which is exactly a $100 value, so I need to get my money’s worth. I need to just go to those 10 classes and then cancel my membership. Or renew it if I find I like it again. Either way, I just need to freaking go.
3. Take dogs to the water. We’re in the market for a boat, so I’d like to take the dogs down to the water to see if it’s something they’ll enjoy. I’d love to take them out on the boat with us, but only if it’s something they’ll like. I’m pretty sure the girl will enjoy it, but I’m not sure about the boy. He can be timid in unfamiliar situations, but if it’s something he really enjoys he’s super outgoing. Like at the dog park. So he may surprise me. I know he loves playing in the water with the water hose here at the house, so he may love the lake!
4. Visit Garden of the Gods in southern Illinois. One of my friends told me about this place last summer, and when I googled it I was floored. I had no idea anything like this existed anywhere around here. I thought you had to go out west for views like this! And it’s only two hours north of here. We NEED to take a day trip here.
5. Ballgame in St. Louis. We didn’t get to a single game all summer last year until the National League Championship Series, so I’d like to get in a game or five of regular season play this year.
6. Current River in Van Buren, Missouri. Sunshine, beer, and water. Yes please! I haven’t been floating in like 10 years. It’s time.
7. Visit the Full Throttle Saloon distillery. Michael Ballard, from the TV Show Full Throttle Saloon, grew up in a tiny town near my hometown, and he recently returned and built a distillery where they make their S’loonshine. I need to go support his cause! haha We’ll probably take care of that one this weekend. They’re having a big two-day shindig with a car show and outdoor concerts (Bad Company will be there!) and such, and it sounds like a great time to go.
8. Re-read Harry Potter series. We’re going to Florida in October, and as part of that trip I’ve sweet-talked the hubby into going to Harry Potter World on our way home. I feel the need to re-read everything before we go!
9. Go to Fall Creek Falls. This Tennessee state park draws people from all over the country, and I’ve never been to it even though it’s in my own state. Lots of my friends have been, and it looks absolutely beautiful! I love a good waterfall.
10. Race a 5K and not suck. This will definitely be a LATE summer/early fall feat. Because, God, who wants to run a 5K in 95-degree heat with 102% humidity? As I get back into training, I want to be sure that I incorporate speed work to get myself used to running uncomfortably. I was making progress in this area before I was injured, but I’ve lost a GREAT deal of fitness in these months off! It’s gonna take a while to get that back, but surely I can not suck at a 5K by the end of summer.
And now that I read back through these, that sounds like a lot of out-of-town stuff! We may not be able to make ALL of these happen this summer, but it’ll be fun to try!
We’ve been back from vacation for over two weeks now, and I’m FINALLY getting a chance to sit down and go through pictures and throw a post together about it! As I did with our Colorado trip in March–less words, more pictures!
We flew in on a Friday and got checked in to the Wyndham Midtown 45 late in the evening, so we did nothing that night except hit up this little all natural, mostly organic Amish grocery joint right across the street from our hotel to stock the fridge with a few necessities. I absolutely adored this place! We went back a couple more times through the week. It was the first thing I saw of the city, so I was in love from the start!
For dinner that night, we walked to a nearby pizza joint that the hotel concierge dude recommended. They were happy to accommodate my plant-based preferences and hooked me up with this sun-dried tomato, olive, and arugula cheeseless pie. Hands down BEST PIZZA EVER!!! And I don’t even remember the name of the place now!
The next morning, we hit the ground running. So much we wanted to do and see in one short week! We went all out with the tourist thing and bought the 72-hour hop-on-hop-off bus package. Well worth the money! It helped us get oriented to the city and figure out where everything was. We used it to kind of see everything briefly and figure out what we wanted to go back to.
We wrapped up our sightseeing for the day and headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up and head out to dinner then to the theater district because we had tickets to see Something Rotten that evening.
After the show, we hit up Times Square
The next day we hit a couple of museums. One of my favorite things we did while we were there was go to the Body Worlds exhibit. It was positively fascinating.
Then we headed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Some things in there were pretty interesting, but I wasn’t as awed as I thought I would be.
Then we made our way back downtown to the Empire State Building. We waited till later in the day to avoid the long lines, which are told to be as long as four hours during peak times. We breezed right through in like 10 minutes.
On Monday, we got up early to go stand in line at the NBC Studios for standby tickets to go to a Jimmy Fallon taping. That turned out to be kind of an all-day ordeal, but it paid off because we totally got in! We lined up at like 7:00 that morning.
They came out and numbered us off at 9:00. When we got in line, there were 20 people ahead of us, but by the time several douche bags broke in line in front of us (Dewayne wouldn’t let me kneecap them with my selfie stick), we were numbers 31 and 32. We didn’t have high hopes of getting in, but we were told there was always a chance and to come back at 3:45 to find out how many seats they had left to fill.
There was still lots that we wanted to do and see, but we were afraid to go far because we wanted to make sure getting back at 3:45 wouldn’t be an issue! So we just trekked around town on foot all day. We went back to Times Square and milled around then walked over to Fifth Avenue for some window shopping.
Then we headed back to the studios to find out whether or not we would get in. That was an emotional roller coaster. haha When we first got there, they were turning away anyone with a number higher than 60. (Yay!) Then we waited around for what felt like forever. (Boo!) Then they said they could take 36 people. (YAY!!!) Then they said, no, only 26. (BOO!) Then they told us to wait around because they may get a few more. (YAAAAAAAYYYY!) Remember, we were numbers 31 and 32. They had taken 26. Then they came out and said they could take six more. Do the math. We got the LAST TWO SEATS! WOOOOHOOOOO!!!!!!!! (Or so we thought. During a commercial break, we saw one of the guys that was with the family of five that was behind us. They went back for one more after they let us in.) I was freaking stoked. If you’re a Fallon watcher, we were at the taping with Tom Brokaw and Charlize Theron. Several friends and family watched the episode and said they saw us several times. A couple even sent me pics! haha
As much fun as that was, we trumped it the next night by going to one of David Letterman’s last tapings. We had tickets secured for that one, so it didn’t involve the waiting and wondering like Fallon did! I just entered the ticket lottery before we went, and while we were sitting in the Nashville airport waiting to board the plane to NYC, the studio called and asked a trivia question about the show that I had to answer correctly to get the tickets. I don’t have any screen shots of that one (you could barely see us if you knew where to look during one camera pan of the audience), but we were at the taping with Bill Clinton and Adam Sandler. I was so disappointed when I found out who was going to be there. haha I couldn’t have picked two celebrities I would LEAST like to see. lol But guests aside, it was even more fun than the Fallon taping. I freaking love David Letterman and miss him already.
When we were leaving, we rounded the corner and found Adam Sandler signing autographs.
I don’t like him, but that didn’t stop me from getting him to sign my ticket stub for a souvinier. haha
After the taping we went for dinner and then to the Broadway Comedy Club. We were one of the first to arrive, so we were treated to a stage-side table. It was great because we got to interact with the comedians. There were several there that night. I think like 6 or 7? I don’t know, I was hammered. haha I recognized a few of them, but I was really only familiar with one of them–Mike Vecchione. We bought the tickets blind, not knowing who would be there, so I was excited when he walked out!
Oh and I forgot to mention that earlier in the day, before the Letterman taping, we went to the Statue of Liberty. We didn’t go up in the crown or anything. We basically just ferried over, took some pictures, and left.
That night after the comedy club, we hit another bar on the way back to the hotel and then I crashed and burned. haha We didn’t have any solid plans for the next day until 8:00 that evening, and it’s a good thing because we didn’t get out of bed till 4:00 in the afternoon. We were both exhausted and I was more hungover than I’ve been in a very long time. We left the hotel in just enough time to grab dinner and get to the Best Buy Theater for a concert. We saw Of Mice & Men with Crown the Empire and Volumes opening for them. I loooove Of Mice & Men–they were the headliner and the reason we bought the tickets. I only knew one Crown the Empire song and had never heard of Volumes, but they both put on a solid performance. It was a great show and a great time, even if I was still hungover. haha
Neither of us were really up to going back out that night, so we just vegged out and watched TV in the hotel so we’d be rested and ready to make the most of Thursday, our last day there and our 8th anniversary! We slept in again that morning and I FINALLY felt like a human being again. haha So much so that I decided to test out my leg on a run in Central Park! After being sidelined for the better part of three months due to injury, I was ELATED to run a pain-free three miles. And the fact that the comeback run was in Central Park was just the very sweet icing on the already sweet cake.
We hung out in Central Park for a few hours walking around, eating pretzels, watching street performers, taking pictures, just savoring our last day. It was nothing short of glorious.
Then while we were trying to decide what we wanted to do that evening for our anniversary, we decided we’d go back to Broadway for another show. On a whim we bought tickets to see An Act of God. We really didn’t even know anything about it other than it had Jim Parsons in it and we both love him. It was an awesome show and so cool to see Sheldon as something other than… well, Sheldon! hahaha
And then just like that, our trip was over. I don’t think we’ve EVER crammed so much activity into one week! It was so much fun and very rejuvenating for us as a couple. Now to bust ass and save money for our next trip in October!
Yes, I’m still alive. I didn’t get lost or abducted in NYC. I’m alive and well but just sooooooooo behiiiiiiiiiind!!!!!!! I’ve got a full post about NYC coming as soon as I can find a few spare minutes to sit down and get it done. So in the meantime–BULLETS! Just so you don’t forget I’m here.
As the title suggested, I’m FIIIIIINALLY on the road to recovery. It’s still very, very short runs for now, but I’m slowly adding mileage back in, a quarter-mile at a time. One of the highlights of my NYC trip was a 3-mile pain-free in Central Park!
I’ve been carrying around a $50 gift card to Dick’s ever since Christmas, but when a girl ain’t running, a sporting goods store is a pretty depressing place to be. haha I took care of that last weekend.
And what makes a comeback more official than a race registration?!?!?!
Good morning, Kids! We’re a couple of days into our week-long trip to NYC, and it is shaping up to be everything I’d hoped for and then some. We’re trying to cram as much stuff as we can into seven short days, so there isn’t much bloggy time! I just wanted to pop in with a few teaser photos so you can take comfort in the fact that while you’re stuck at work on a beautiful Monday morning, at least one of us is livin’ large in The Big Apple. You’re welcome.
I don’t usually do Friday Favorites posts, but I’ve just come across too many things lately that I’m LOVING, so feel compelled to share my new-found loves with the world. You’re welcome.
1. Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter. I’m sure this probably isn’t new to the rest of the world, but for those of us who are a solid two hours from the nearest TJ’s, it just may be. I grabbed some while I was in TJ’s in Colorado last month and I was pretty sure I’d died and gone to Heaven. It reminded me of Teddy Grahams that I so dearly loved as a child.
2. Pet Naturals of Vermont Calming for Cats.Okay, this one may not be relevant to most of my readers, but for anyone who has a cat that HATES to ride in a car as much as mine does, this will be a life-saver. (They have a dog version, too, but I’ve never had any reason to try it.) Any time we have to take C.C. to the vet, it’s a solid 10 minutes of wailing and howling and screaming on the ride there. It’s not good for her to be so stressed at nearly 16 years old, and it’s not great for my nerves either! Then I found this.
It’s AMAZING. I gave it to her before the hour and a half drive to my parents’ house when they kept her while we were out of town last month. She was one cool kitty but not drugged, ya know? Calm but alert. I was even able to unzip her cat carrier so she could poke her head out. That would have NEVER happened before. I wish I’d found this stuff years ago. Total game changer for us.
3. Black-ish. Freaking hilarious. The best thing to happen to prime time since Modern Family.
4. Starbucks Cinnamon Chai Soy Latte. Yes it has a lot of sugar, and no I don’t know that it’s 100% vegan even when made with soy milk, but hot damn this is some good stuff.
5. Blackberry Patch blueberry syrup. I found this in the gourmet foods section of a TJ Maxx for $2.99, so I had to try it. I made pancakes with it last weekend and HELLLOOOOOOO! IHOP ain’t got nothin’ on me.
I’ve been seeing the phrase “capsule wardrobe” being thrown around a lot lately and thought it sounded interesting. Then I read the “rules” and saw that the suggested number of pieces in a capsule wardrobe is 37. HA! Screw that. haha I have no interesting in paring down my wardrobe THAT much. But I liked the idea behind it: Get rid of the shit that’s been hanging in your closet for years that you don’t love and seldom-to-never wear.
So I went into my closet and had a very honest discussion with lots things.
“I’m sorry, but I just don’t love you anymore.” “I don’t remember the last time i saw you.” “I honestly forgot you were even here.”
“You never really made me feel good about myself anyway.”
And so I began pulling things off hangers and throwing them in the floor.
I still had every race shirt from every half and full marathon I’ve ever run. WHY? They’re hideous. But I had sort of a sentimental attachment to them, I guess. I rationalized with myself that that’s what medals are for and tossed them into the mounting pile.
There was one piece though that was super hard for me to get rid of. It’s the oldest article of clothing I own. My very first concert t-shirt from Bush’s Razorblade Suitcase tour circa 1997. haha!
Some friends and I went to see them in Memphis when we were juniors in high school and I’ve had the shirt ever since. Unlike most of the other clothes I tossed, I still actually wore this one. haha Not in public! Lord, I’m not that fashionably challenged… But it was perfect with a pair of yoga pants just lounging around the house. Alas, it was 18 years old and getting threadbare, so it was finally time to say goodbye.
By the time I’d finished, I’d tossed 7 pairs of shoes, 52 shirts, 11 pairs of dress pants, 3 pairs of jeans, 4 bras, 5 pairs of shorts, 2 dresses, 3 skirts, 1 blazer, 1 business suit, 6 belts, 1 backpack, and countless pairs of socks. Not too shabby. Some was thrown away and the rest donated to the Salvation Army so it can move on to its next chapter in life cluttering up someone else’s closet!
When’s the last time you gave your closet an honest purge? What’s the oldest piece of clothing you own? And why are you hanging on to it?!
TL;DR version: Foster puppy adopted. Ran two miles. Hip/leg still hurts but not as bad. Not ready to commit self to psych ward just yet.
As I briefly mentioned last week, my little foster pup Penny was adopted. After having her for three months, she finally had a wonderful adoption application. (Many, many thanks to Kara for that!) Friday morning started off bright and early for Penny and I as her adopter lives clear on the other end of Tennessee–a 6-hour drive from here.
The family that she went to has another hound that they had rescued just a few months ago, two rescue cats, and three kiddos (the oldest is four!), so lonely is something this little girl will never be! Of course I teared up when I left (and then ugly cried in the truck lol I’ve become so attached to this one), but seeing how happy she is in the pictures her new mom has posted to FB and texted me, I know she is right where she is supposed to be!
Once I cleared away the snot and tears, I realized how famished I was. It was after 4pm and I hadn’t had anything but a Larabar all day. I used the Happy Cow app to find a veg-friendly place. The closest one was a place called Cootie Brown’s. The name cracked me up, and it was 2 miles away, so I drove straight there and had a delicious grilled veggie sandwich.
I also used my dining-alone time to find a hotel. I had told the rescue and the adopters that I would spend the night just in case anything went wrong and Penny needed to come back with me–plus I have a friend in Bristol that I haven’t seen in years, so that was a HUGE bonus and incentive to stay the night! But I was on my own for that evening because Rebecca couldn’t meet me till the next day. I had noticed road signs on my drive there that said “Asheville” so I knew I was only about an hour away. I have always wanted to see the Biltmore Estates, so I came VERY close to driving on to Asheville to get a hotel so I could get up and go tour the Estates the next morning, but I ended up talking myself out of it. It was supposed to rain the next morning, and the web site said that one should allow 6-8 hours to tour the entire grounds. I was supposed to meet Beck at noon, so I nixed those plans (which turned out to be a good thing because it rained its ASS off the next morning).
The most reasonable hotel I found was a Red Roof Inn just a couple of miles from where I was sitting eating my dinner. It was only $60 but it had mixed reviews. I figured I’d give it a drive-by and check it out before I booked. The grounds and lobby were super well-kept and the front desk dude was super polite (and spoke English!) so I took it. I couldn’t be more pleased with the room! And I didn’t know that Red Roof Inns were pet friendly, so I’ll definitely keep them in mind from now on when I need to travel with pups in tow.
Small but squeaky clean with a comfortable bed and pillows. For $60. Can’t beat that. And the location was great. It was within walking distance to a little strip mall with a Target, Books A Million, Pier 1, and TJ Maxx. A little retail therapy was just what the doctor ordered after my emotional day. haha
I came back to the room, called the hubs, turned on the tube, and was out like a light before 9:00. I slept longer and harder than I can remember sleeping in a looooong time. Funny how you can do that when you don’t have a snoring/tossing/turning husband sharing your space or a cat pawing at your head or demanding breakfast. I slept until 6:30 and only woke up then because I was having a horrible dream about one of my dogs. Leftover feels from the previous day, I’m sure. I lounged around for a little while then got up and headed to my friendly neighborhood Starbucks.
As fate would have it, the Starbucks was directly across the street from a mall, so wiih still a couple of hours to kill before meeting Beck I headed to the mall for a little continued retail therapy. The universe must have known I needed to do a little shopping before our NYC trip coming up! I came away from the whole trip with three super cute outfits, a cardigan that I can wear over two of them if it’s cool, and a pair of sandals on the cheap.
Then it was time to meet Beck! And like a terrible blogger, we didn’t take a single picture. But we enjoyed a fabulous couple of hours over a delicious meal and fell right back into place where we left off the last time we saw each other about 12 years ago. Yes, we’ve sort of kept in touch through FB, but there’s just nothing like face-to-face girl time. We ended our visit with hugs and promises not to let it be another decade before we see each other, and I began the long drove home.
Sunday… I have no idea where Sunday went. It started out normal. I got up, made my coffee, and had some breakfast before 8. I sat around and caught up on blogs, paid bills, etc., till D left to go to work sometime around 9:30ish. Then I decided I wanted to start “unfucking my habitat.” haha I started with my closet. Somehow it was around 10 when I went into my closet and much, much later when I came out, but the whole “unfucking” deserves its own post.
I grabbed Bella and Harley and took them to the park for a walk…which took forever. There were SO. MANY. SMELLS. haha
Then when we got home I decided it was time to try out my leg. It’s been almost a month since I’ve tried to run, at which time I was able to run 800 x 3 with walking and stretching in between, and by the end of the last one I was limping. Since then I’ve had fairly marked improvement (although still not as much as I or my orthopedist would like). I’ve changed physical therapists at his recommendation, to see what someone else can offer. My pain level without anti-inflammatories is now where it was with them just a few weeks ago, but OMG can I just get healed already?!?! It’s been over two months!!! Anyway, I set out at a very slow pace with no plans other than stopping when it hurt too badly. I was actually fairly pleased. I ran one mile, walked a quarter-mile, stretched, ran another mile, and walked the quarter-mile home. It was hard to get started again at the start of that second mile, but then it loosened up a bit and I was able to continue. It was very uncomfortable by the end, but not anywhere near the level of pain I had at the end of my last attempted run. I stretched and rolled the ever-loving shit out of it, but as I went about my evening I felt it getting more painful. I popped my first anti-inflammatory in several days, and as I sit here now, the pain is almost back to where it was pre-run. So although the improvement is not coming as swiftly as I’d like it to come… it’s coming. Thank God. Just in time, too. I’ve been inching closer and closer toward a dark place with every day I don’t run. Today, even though it wasn’t pain-free, I felt more like myself than I have in quite some time.
Most people that have kids like to say things like, “My kids made me realize what’s important in life, ” and, “My children make me want to be a better person.” Well, I’ve VERY INTENTIONALLY never had kids, but I think the same thing can be said about pets. Every single day, they help me exercise one virtue or another in some way.
Patience – “I know you’re waiting for me to pee so you can go to work, but I have to finish these snow angels first.”
Wonder – Seeing a puppy experience things for the first time.
Sacrifice – “Oh you wanted to get a new bedroom suite? Sorry, I just tore my meniscus. Six months after I tore my ACL.”
Forgiveness – We forgave them. And then we bought crates while the couch was being reupholstered. Lesson learned.
Respect – I had to pee like a race horse when I took this picture, but he just looked so comfortable! I couldn’t bring myself to disturb him.
Compassion – This old girl just doesn’t get around like she used to and requires some special accommodations and extra TLC and spoiling.
Whimsy – Don’t mind us. Just taking some doggy kissy selfies.
Selflessness – “I know you’d like to go to happy hour after work rather than coming straight home every day, but remember we’re here waiting for you.”
Service – “Psssst. Wake up. I’m hungry.”
Humility – Fostering is hard. Let me rephrase that. Letting go of a foster is hard. Some more than others. I’ve had this baby for three months, and her adoption was just finalized. She will be going home tomorrow. You love them like your own from the day you bring them into your family and then you just have to hand them over and recognize your place in their lives was only temporary–the bridge between what has been and what will be. I’m trying to cram a lifetime of snuggles and kisses into the next few hours before I take her to her new family. I know she’ll forget me quickly, but I will love her forever.
Even though I’m not running right now, Holly at HoHo Runs tagged me to answer a few running related questions. What a sadist. “Oh, you’re still not running? Let’s talk about the things you miss the most.” Haha!
1 – Location: Treadmill, road or trail? Road. Hands down Always. Road. I’ve learned recently that the only thing worse than running on a treadmill is walking on a treadmill. But honestly I can’t say anything bad about trail running because I’ve never done it. I don’t have any near me. I’d like to try it sometime. Hey, look at that! Another good reason to move to Colorado!
2 – Time: Morning, noon, or evening? Evening. Most of my runs are done around 5:00, after I get off of work. I’ve tried a few times to get up early and run before work to make up for a missed workout or something, and those runs always feel TERRIBLE! Yes, I run in the mornings on the weekends, but that’s different because it doesn’t require an alarm clock. I just run when I get up.
3 – Weather: Sunshine, mild, hot? None of the above! I like it cold and overcast! I’m not a warm weather girl at all! But only when it comes to running–any other time I’m a sun-worshiper.
4 – Fuel: Before, during, after? I don’t give much thought to fueling for runs under 10 miles other than taking my Fuelbelt filled with Nuun if it’s hot out. Runs over 10 miles get a Clif bar before, a gel or two (depending on how long I’m running) during, and a protein shake after for recovery.
5 – Accessories: Music, watch, more? Music. Always music. I HAVE to have music. I positively cannot stand to listen to myself breathe. And I’m a total data whore, so I always wear my Garmin too. Always.
6 – Rewards: Food, wine, or….? Yes please! All the things! I definitely enjoy being able to fill that calorie deficit created by a long run with a little extra grub and vino. 🙂
7 – Type of run: Long, tempo, intervals, easy, hills, progression? I have two favorites here at completely opposite ends of the spectrum. I love a nice easy run, but intervals are right up there with that for me. I love that lungs burning, chest exploding, heart pounding feeling from a kick-ass intervals workout.
I think I was supposed to tag 7 people, but …. yeah, I just don’t do that. Just tell me your running favorites in the comments! It doesn’t have to just be these 7 things. Tell me your favorite ANYTHING running related. Come on. Let me live vicariously through you.
We went to Colorado Springs a couple of weeks ago for a little family vacation with my husband’s sister, her husband, and their daughter. Their son lives there, and we all went out to visit him. They’ve been trying to get us out there for a couple of years since he relocated there, but the timing has just never been right. It all worked out this year, and I kinda hate myself for not going sooner! I loved absolutely everything about it. But rather than bore you with details, I’ll dazzle you with photos!
PIKE’S PEAK – We couldn’t get all the way to the top of Pike’s Peak the day we went. From the bottom it’s like 19 or so miles to the top, but they had it blocked off at around mile 16 because they had just gotten a heavy snow and didn’t have it plowed.
GARDEN OF THE GODS – I’d like to go back and spend more time here and hike more of their beautiful trails.
MOUNT CUTLER – We all (dogs included (not ours–our nephew and his girlfriend’s) drove to Mount Cutler to do another short hike. It was short, but it was challenging because of my hip. Going up was fine but coming back down the steep parts really hurt. But the view was totally worth it!
COLORADO WOLF AND WILDLIFE CENTER – This was hands-down one of my favorite things we did while we were there. This is an amazing facility offering refuge and sanctuary to these beautiful creatures. It was very educational about the fur industry and the impact of wolf hunting and how it’s harming our ecosystem. It was amazing to be standing so close to these animals. And when they all started howling? OMG. Goosebumps.
THE MANITOU INCLINE – This “trail” is known for being one of the most extreme and difficult trails in Colorado. It’s slightly less than a mile long, but in that mile you gain 2,000 feet. It was brutal, but it was amazing. It starts off at a fairly low grade, as you can see in the first picture from the bottom looking up. But once you get about halfway, the incline grade increases dramatically–up to 60% at times. We hiked up the incline but rather than go back the way we came, we hiked down a section of the Barr Trail. This is a must-do for anyone visiting the area looking for a challenge!